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Sometimes memories are more important than fish

Fishing Columnist Brad Laabs

I just returned from Rochester again, and have spent a dozen days down there over the last three weeks. My oldest brother Bill turned 70 last November and had a stroke just before Christmas. He has been transitioned to a memory care facility and will be in assisted living now. My 92 year old mother, that bowled in multiple leagues until she was 90, had a fall several weeks ago that has robbed her of the independence she has enjoyed in her many years. We have her transitioned to an elderly independent living facility where she will be cared for by my 65-year-old brother Bruce.

These are reminders for how fast and dramatic life can change for any of us, and how life interferes with life, and priorities always remain fluid. It has refocused the importance of pre-planning, and become eye opening for how much there is to do when it comes to tying up loose ends when life has such dramatic transitions.

My reflection here in a "fishing article," are about the quality times that have been shared with family fishing trips and outings. It is a reminder how important it is not to take time shared together for granted. My brother Bill was not much of a fisherman, but enjoyed time in the boat loving nature and visiting ... catching fish was just a bonus, and it didn't really matter much to him.

Even though we had many, it is never enough, and I regret we didn't have a few more of those times and special memories. It was special when cleaning out his place to see the caps, shirts, pics, and memorabilia from fishing trips. My mom took to fishing, loved it, bought her own boat, and did multiple trips to Canada. She also got spoiled many, many times in a boat by this writer. She did several of the "elderly" outings with the package bus/resort fishing trips to Lake of the Woods in later years.

She and my brother Bruce were last in a boat with me four years ago and fished the mornings before my wife, Mary, my brother Bruce, and my mom attended Blues Fest (she loves rock & roll and the blues). We caught numbers of walleyes, and both my brother and my (88-year-old at the time) mother each caught a musky over 50 inches (on walleye gear while fishing walleyes on Big Detroit). The catching fish is cool, but the time together sharing that kind of experience is really cool!

I apologize if you were reading this week for a fishing tip or information. I have been distracted by recent events and priorities. I haven't had the time on the ice I would have liked this winter due to several other distractions and priorities.

We will soon hit the "tweener" time between good ice and open water. My focus now will change from ice to open water ... or next week ... about how we go about getting the Lake Sallie fishing pier by the river back for public use!

Things will change in a hurry now as we approach the third week of March. Remember to get your house of the lake if you are north of highways 10 and 34. You have until Monday midnight without possible fine or penalty. It should be good for you to do so this weekend. The sun has knocked the snow down. Use the cold mornings, as it could be sloppy Saturday through Monday if the forecast holds.

(Laabs owns Brad Laabs Guide Service in Detroit Lakes)

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